By the time you reach your second trimester, you’d probably have developed a special bond with your unborn baby.
That is why a mum who loses her child later in pregnancy faces a higher risk of developing mental-health issues, says Dr Cornelia Chee, head and senior consultant of Psychological Medicine at National University Hospital.
So how do you go on with life after suffering a miscarriage? Dr Chee offers tips to help you cope.
Have a keepsake
Holding your baby – for the first and last time – and taking some photos of him after the delivery can help you grieve.
While this might be traumatic for some people, many mums later regret not touching their babies or memorialising them in some other ways, says Dr Chee.
However, she adds that it needn’t be “an all or nothing” decision.
“Work out something with your spouse to discuss what you are prepared to do and have a concrete reminder of your baby, such as taking a footprint impression,” she adds.
(Also read: What to say to friend who lost a baby)
It’s okay to be sad
Don’t bottle it in. As with any loss, there’s the usual gamut of reactions from denial, anger, bargaining and depression to acceptance, says Dr Chee.
For the first few weeks, she advises staying away from pregnant women and finding helpful support groups, such as the Child Bereavement Support Singapore.
Honey, be here for me
While men may have different styles of grieving, it is important to “just be there when the wife is emotional”, says Dr Chee.
“Tell her: ‘I’m grieving, too, and we’re in this together.’ Ask if there is anything you can do to help the both of you get through this.”
You should also recognise that men grieve in different ways, and not blame him for his apparent nonchalance.
It gets better, really
Let time heal all wounds. From her experience working with mums who have lost their babies, most feel the greatest distress in the first month and gradually recover emotionally over the next few months.
“Sometimes, it’s about letting time do its job and putting one foot in front of the other during the difficult days before that,” says Dr Chee.